Wind Energy Current Affairs - 2019

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Government extends transmission charge waiver to solar, wind power till March 2022

The Union Power Ministry has extended waiver of inter-state power transmission charges and losses for solar and wind power projects commissioned till 31 March 2022 in order to give boost to clean energy sources.

Key Facts

The waiver will be available to solar and wind projects for 25 years from date of commissioning provided developers sign power purchase agreements with entities, including power distribution companies (discoms), for sale of power for compliance of their renewable purchase obligation. Moreover, the waiver will be available to only those projects which are awarded through competitive bidding process as per guidelines issued by central government. These new conditions for wavier of transmission charges and losses irrespective of purchasing entity will be applicable prospectively.

Significance

The order assumes significance in view of India’s ambitious target of having 175GW of renewable energy capacities (100GW of solar, 60GW of wind energy, 10GW energy from Biomass and 5 GW from Hydel). At present, India’s installed renewable generation capacity is 62.84 GW excluding large hydro projects above 25 MW. The Union Government also has planned to auction 40GW of solar energy capacities and 20GW of wind projects in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to meet the tall order.

Background

Earlier, the waiver was available to solar and wind power projects commissioned till 31 December 2019, and 31 March 2019, respectively. It was available for a period of 25 years from date commissioning of the project.  Moreover, under it incentive was not available to firms other than discom. Thus, other entities procuring clean energy from these projects were at disadvantageous position.

World’s first wind farm being built off Scotland coast

The world’s first full—scale floating wind farm is being built off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea. The wind farm, known as Hywind is a trial project which aims to bring power to 20,000 homes.

The floating wind farm technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters that are too deep for the existing bottom—standing turbines particularly installed in shallow waters.

Significance

Unlike normal turbines, floating turbines are not attached to the seabed by foundations. Rather, they are attached by long mooring tethers, allowing them to be placed in deep water. Traditional fixed turbines work best at a depth of 20-50m on stationary base.

Key Facts

The park will be around four square kilometers in size in deep sea. Each turbine in the park will be floating at a depth of between 95 and 120 metres.  Each turbine tower, including the blades in the floating wind park is 175m high and weighs 11,500 tonnes. It uses a large buoy filled with iron ore to weight the base to keep it upright. The turbines also make use of new blade technology, which twits the blades in order to lessen the impact of wind, waves and currents to hold turbine tower upright.

Benefits

The turbines in the floating wind farm can operate in water up to a kilometre deep. The power output is also larger than power generation from current stationary turbines. This revolutionary tech development project will demonstrate workability of floating wind farm technology in open sea conditions and also help to bring costs down.